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Thread: Haibianr - WIP city map

  1. #1
    Community Leader Gracious Donor mearrin69's Avatar
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    Map Haibianr - WIP city map

    Hi all,
    I'm working on an Asian-themed RPG campaign setting and have been trying to get myself up to speed on mapping techniques. Posted the world map (showing the western hemisphere only) as a WIP here. Figured I'd post the city map I've been working on. Haibianr will be a Hong Kong-like city that serves as an introduction to the setting for "eastern" characters (our west). Here's the "boxed text" on the city:

    On the mountainous north-eastern coast of the world’s largest continent perches a bustling trading port – a cosmopolitan city of twisting streets protected by ancient magic and modern might. Over the nearly two thousand years since its founding, Haibianr has evolved into a powerful independent city-state. Its masters pay no tribute to the feuding “Five Emperors” that rule the southlands, wielding Haibianr’s near-monopoly over trade with the rest of the world as a cudgel that guarantees freedom from Imperial dominion.

    Also called Wanxiangshi, “city of ten-thousand alleyways”, this appellation is often rendered in a twist of words by the locals as “city of ten-thousand odors”, owing to the many curious smells that emanate from Haibianr’s harbor, a by-product of industries ranging from the distillation of rice and soy to the manufacture of explosives and fireworks. These products – along with fine silk, exotic spices, art objects, and the highly addictive “dream flower” snuff – all contribute to heavy trade with lands beyond the continent. Haibianr is the port of choice for foreign traders.
    Like you care, right? Anyway, here's what I've done so far:

    1) I started with a hand-drawn map of the city and surrounding areas. This was done a while back in my design journal with a mechanical pencil and filled lightly with colored pencils. Nothing fancy, just getting it on paper. I have attached the (poor) scan I brought into Photoshop to start the drawing.
    2) First I tried Pyrandon's tutorial (results attached as "Haibianr-1.png"). I liked the style of his map and the hills/mountains turned out pretty cool - especially when I added highlights/shadows.
    3) The elevations didn't look quite like I wanted, however, so I branched to another drawing ("Haibianr-2.png") and added more elevations. That didn't quite do it for me either, though the results are promising enough to try on another map, another day.
    4) Part way through I realized I wasn't going to be able to show much detail in my city with all of the surrounding territory showing anyway so I branched to another drawing ("Haibianr-3.png") and cropped down to just show the city and important nearby areas. I decided to attempt a more hand-drawn style for the buildings and such but haven't gotten very far with it. I think it'll better match what I want to do with my close-ups and encounter maps than the Pyrandon style (though I love the look he achieves). The trees are hand-drawn but I need to shrink the texture to match the scale of the city.

    A couple of notes. The map is actually upside down now, following my decision to invert the continent and place it in the southern hemisphere. Will fix it later but I'm used to looking at it this way so I've kept it for now. The scratchy bits you see in the water are the docks, the "junk islands", and ferry routes from my original sketch. The round thingies along the coast are ancient defenses (Haibianr isn't the first city on this site) used by the city. The southern island contains the governor's palace, government sites, etc. The string of buildings along the eastern road is the docks area and industrial sites. Most residences are on the eastern part of the city and the walled areas along the edges are larger manors. The western shore is primarily given over to trade coming south (north, really, with the flip) from inland. The walled compound on the hill is the "House of the Four Winds", the local monkery - source of much mystery and kung fu fighting. Up the hill from there is the "Temple of Heaven", which is sort of an arcane "warehouse 23", among other things.

    Okay. I figure that's everything you could *possibly* want to know about my little city. Any comments, suggestions, critique, etc. will be much appreciated. I'll add updates here as I make progress. Thanks for reading my crazily long post!
    M
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  2. #2
    Community Leader Gandwarf's Avatar
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    Well, you are certainly getting some rep from me. It's always nice to see the different WIP's you have went through to get where you are now. The handdrawn map (the first) looks very cool already I must say.

    Anyway, it looks like you are onto something in that latest version. The style is very pleasing to the eye. What I don't like though is that some buildings are red and most buildings are almost pink. I don't care too much for the pink color and it doesn't seem to mix really well with the other colors. Otherwise a very cool map so far!

    Oh, and I have done many cities and have also find it very hard to suggest different elevations. Most of the time I don't bother
    Check out my City Designer 3 tutorials. See my fantasy (city) maps in this thread.

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  3. #3
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    It's a good start, I've used that same tutorial in the past (and still use various techniques from it).

    The pink/fleshy colored buildings that Gandwarf mentioned do seem strange, but easily changeable should you choose to.

    Looking forward to see where you take this.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



  4. #4
    Community Leader Gracious Donor mearrin69's Avatar
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    Thanks very much for the comments.

    Whoops. The reddish color is the one I'm going for...the pink is a layer style washout so I can see what I'm drawing over the top of the original building rough-in. The ones that are still reddish live on another layer (because I had clicked on another layer when I was drawing those).

    So, pinkish is not a permanent design decision! I'm going to try to suggest chinese-style tile roofs, with maybe some wooden mixed in for variety.
    M

  5. #5
    Community Leader Gandwarf's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was hoping the pink was just a placeholder, as is seemed kinda weird
    You might want to experiment with some different tones of red for the houses though, so it doesn't look like they all have exactly the same colored roof. Mixing in some wood sounds like a great plan.
    Check out my City Designer 3 tutorials. See my fantasy (city) maps in this thread.

    Gandwarf has fallen into shadow...

  6. #6
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    If you are looking at 'asian' style for the roofs, you may want to check out last months challenge maps for some inspiration/ideas.
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



  7. #7
    Community Leader Gracious Donor mearrin69's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip. Some great maps in that challenge...and your suggestion led me to the challenge archives, which I had missed before. A lot to look at in there.
    M

  8. #8
    Community Leader Gracious Donor mearrin69's Avatar
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    Wip Little update

    Hi all,
    Little update. After playing for a long while with several "filter-generated" maps I've decided that I want to play with a more hand-drawn style.

    I'm quite taken with the "Carthusal" map by Aerius (link). The style reminds me of a couple of illustrators' works from Heavy Metal (brain like a sieve...maybe a French guy).

    Anyway. I'm not trying to copy this style 100% (not that I could) but I'm just playing around to see what I can come up with. This snip is a zoom in (200%) of the western island in progress. The buildings are roughed in using small square brushes on a layer with a stroke and drop shadow style. I kind of like the way the bridge walls turned out.

    I'm not sure what the final look will be but I'll probably refine the shapes and then add details and shading to the roofs after I've got the buildings roughed in. Tried bevel but didn't like it so I will most likely shade by hand. I reckon this is kind of the long way around - I could probably just color in a big patch, remove "alleyways" with the eraser, and then recolor buildings...but I'm just playing around so I don't mind spending some time exploring.

    Any comments, questions, or tips appreciated. Thanks!
    M
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  9. #9
    Professional Artist Facebook Connected Coyotemax's Avatar
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    I really like the way that's turning out. I'm a fan of the hand drawn look vs filter generated buildings myself, so maybe I'm biased. The bridges are fabulous, too. I think you're on to something!

    My finished maps
    "...sometimes the most efficient way to make something look drawn by hand is to simply draw it by hand..."

  10. #10
    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    Looking good so far.

    You said that this is zoomed into 200%, and I'm assuming that it's a result of the zoom. But your bridge rails still seem very jagged - did you change the angle of the brush when you drew them on?
    My Finished Maps | My Challenge Maps | Ghoraja Juun, my largely stagnated campaign setting.

    Unless otherwise stated by me in the post, all work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.



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